One of Australia’s Top 10 IT companies, specialising in hardware supply, had built a massive 3rd Party Reseller Network. Their reach covers all of the ANZ market, and they had built strong relationships with all the heavy hitters in the IT industry.
The IT Company wasn’t struggling for sales, and was happy with their growth. They knew, however, that they could do better. They had set themselves a target of being the best IT Company to work for, and attracted the best staff and 3RD Party Resellers. They were aware that other IT companies had incentive programs in play, and realised that they needed to make the commitment to an incentive program as well, so that their competitors would not be able to catch up to their success.
From experience, Incentive Action knew that a good incentive program didn’t just have to boost sales and increase margins. A good incentive program also had to get people talking, by making the reward something so incredible, that every person who knew about it, wanted to be part of it. With that in mind, Incentive Action considered the following:
- The IT Company is already a success, so what can we do to ensure its competitors are left behind?
- The IT Company’s staff and 3rd Party Resellers are already all making money from sales, so what else would interest them?
Incentive Action understood that we needed to implement an absolute “money-can’t-buy” experience to really entice the participants in this program. The idea of an annual trip was floated, but with a difference:
- The trip would be to destinations the general holiday traveler may not visit.
- It would be 5 Star the entire way – flights, accommodation, meals, activities, etc.
- No expense would be spared, and every opportunity would be taken to blow guests’ minds with an incredible, “once in a lifetime” experience.
Incentive Action realised that to truly make this reward a “must have”, it had to be extremely exclusive. Only the best of the best could make it. As a result, the following plan was implemented:
- The trip was invitation only. Yes, targets had to be met, but once they were, guests still had to be personally invited by The IT Company, and only 20 guests attended each year.
- Guests had to be at an Executive Level within their company. If a company reached their targets, but no-one at an Executive Level could attend the trip, then that company forfeited their spot.
The trip was also billed as a high-level networking “summit”, so participants in the program knew they would have an incredible trip, as well as a massive networking opportunity with fellow Executives and competitors, making it truly unique.
The qualifying process of the program was relatively short, running only between 1st June and 30th September each year. The idea behind this was to boost sales within a period (end of financial year and the start of a new financial year) that is often slow. By targeting this specific period, Incentive Action knew the results would be two-fold – increased sales with an immediate reward for 3rd Party Resellers, as the trip always takes place in November of the same year.
MANAGING THE SOLUTION….
The reward itself did most of the work when it came to managing the program. After the first year of the program and the success of the first overseas trip, it was the talk of the industry. The 20 guests who experienced the first program could not help but tell their colleagues within the IT industry about the unbelievable trip they had just attended.
Whilst Incentive Action knew that first hand stories from guests were the best source of advertisement of the program, we couldn’t rely on that alone, and the following management principles were put into place:
- Participants were regularly updated with their qualification tracking over the course of the program, to ensure they knew how close to their targets they were.
- The announcement of the destination for each year’s trip was made with much fanfare, including many details of planned activities and experiences (although some were kept quiet, as a few surprises always work well!).
Over the course of the past 23 years, this annual incentive travel opportunity has become THE most talked about incentive program in the IT industry. It is seen as the pinnacle of achievement to secure a place each year. As a result, The IT Company has achieved exactly what it wanted to – becoming the host of the most impressive incentive reward program in the industry.
“Our rewards program, and annual incentive trip, has become the “must have” experience within our industry. Each year it just becomes bigger and better, and Incentive Action amazes us with experiences I never thought possible, year upon year.”
CEO, The IT Company